Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Basic Research Leads to Commercial Development of Drugs to Potentially Treat Alzheimer's, Other Diseases

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Basic Research Leads to Commercial Development of Drugs to Potentially Treat Alzheimer's, Other Diseases

Article excerpt

The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation has long recognized the need to take new discoveries and make them available for commercial development.

Basic biomedical research leads not only to expected new insights, but also to unexpected ones that in a small percentage of cases have potential commercial development. Discoveries of this type at OMRF have led to a new approach in how Alzheimer's disease, as well as stroke and Parkinson's disease, may be treated.

Essentially, the rapid decline in memory and other problems of those suffering from Alzheimer's are now being seen as a result of abnormal localized inflammation centers in specific brain regions. The region most involved is a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is important in memory processing. This new concept of neuro-inflammation is now beginning to take hold, with scientists struggling to understand the dementia and brain damage that occurs in Alzheimer's disease. Plaques and tangles due to an insoluble protein, called beta- amyloid, are present at much higher levels in the hippocampus of Alzheimer's brain when compared to normal individuals of the same age. It is around these plaques that centers of neuro-inflammation form. Toxins are produced in the neuro-inflammation centers, which either kill brain cells (neurons) or make them dysfunctional for conducting electrical impulses essential to clear thinking and memory recall, as well as in coordinating movement. According to this new approach, it is hoped that specific drugs will shut down the abnormal production of neuro-toxins, hence stopping the increase in dementia. There are now several new promising therapeutics just beginning in the pipeline of drug development. Surprising discoveries made in my laboratory at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, as well as at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, have led to the basic research that has helped uncover the neuro-inflammation view and in identifying a new class of potential therapeutics, called nitrone-based free radical traps. …

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